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POSSIBLE CLOSING OF Psychiatric Units at  BRYN MAWR and  PAOLI HOSPI

You might have recently heard news about the possible closing of the psychiatric units at these hospitals, and about a possible collaboration between Main Line Health and the for-profit Universal Health Services to establish a freestanding psychiatric hospital. On June 24th, 10 Board members of three NAMI affiliates and PLAN of PA met with 7 mainline Health staff members of Bryn Mawr and Paoli hospitals, to exchange information and concerns. We were told that Main Line Health decision-makers are considering several options for the hospitals, but that no final decisions have been made about closing the psych units at Bryn Mawr and Paoli hospitals, about "partnering" with the for-profit Universal Health Services, or about establishing a freestanding psychiatric hospital.
The Main Line Health representatives expressed the following views in support of a freestanding  Psychiatric hospital. The primary reason for closing the psychiatric units and establishing a separate psychiatric hospital would be financial. Reimbursements from Medicare and private insurance companies are not enough to cover costs, and pre-negotiated managed care rates can't be changed. For psychiatric care, the losses "appear to evaporate" when the unit is a freestanding psychiatric hospital, because it would not have to absorb the costs of other hospital units such as the operating room and the emergency room. In a larger, freestanding psychiatric hospital, the cost per bed would be expected to decrease. NAMI  members expressed concern about having a freestanding hospital instead of a psych unit in a general hospital near diagnostic equipment and other medical services and convenient for doctors. The response was that people in a freestanding psychiatric hospital would have access to other medical services in nearby medical hospitals.
Universal Health Services is being considered as a partner with Main Line Health because of the financial capital it could invest in the hospitals, and because of its expertise. It manages 29 psychiatric hospitals in the U.S. and some other hospitals. Information about UHS is on their website: http://www.uhsinc.com.

If Main Line Health decided to form a partnership with Universal Health 
Services and to establish a freestanding psychiatric hospital, UHS would be the "majority owner" and run the hospital.

There is research showing that quality of care can be compromised in a for-profit hospital. One doctor at the meeting said that at one for-profit hospital the psychiatrists were assigned to so many patients that time with each one and with family members was diminished.

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There is research showing that quality of care can be compromised in a for-profit hospital. One doctor at the meeting said that at one for-profit hospital the psychiatrists were assigned to so many patients that time with each one and with family members was diminished. The group  agreed that the amount of time with patients and family members is a top priority for quality of care. The doctor also wondered if discharge planning would receive less attention. A Main Line staff person emphasized that quality of care is important to both for-profit and not-for-profit hospitals.  NAMI and PLAN members were asked to tell Main Line Health decision-makers
* What qualities are needed in a well-run psychiatric unit or hospital, and
* What criteria define "quality of care," which should be based on outcome.?
There was mutual agreement that Main Line Health and NAMI and PLAN all share the common goal of maintaining a very high quality of inpatient psychiatric care in our geographic area. NAMI Mainline Members ,Russ Hartman and Ingrid Waldron will stay in contact, to seek ways in which we can help accomplish that goal.

YOU CAN HELP -Since no decisions have been made yet about the psychiatric units at Bryn Mawr and Paoli hospitals, NAMI families might have an impact on the final outcome, and could participate in defining "quality care." If you have had a good "quality of care" experience with Bryn Mawr or Paoli psychiatric unit -as a patient, a family member, or as a professional ~ please inform the decision-makers...SOON. Tell them what specific aspects of your experience were helpful and demonstrated "high quality of care.", see the list of Hospital Contact people below.
NAMI PA Mainline  would also be interested to hear from you about the quality of care in local psychiatric inpatient facilities run by Universal Health Services, including Horsham, Fairmont, and Keystone Center.

Edited for length from
NAMI PA Mainline Newsletter~
Summer 2003

Persons to contact about your concerns

Ms Andrea Gilbert, President Bryn Mawr Hospital
Mr. Russ Hartman, Vice President Behavioral Health
130 South Bryn Mawr Ave Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

Mr. Leland White, President and CEO Main Line Health System
First Floor, B Wing, Bryn Mawr Hospital 130 South Bryn Mawr Ave

Mr. Frank P. Slattery, Jr., President and Chairman -Main Line Health Board of Governors Quintus Corporation  5 Radnor Corporate Center, Suite 520 Radnor, P A 19087

~To Contact Us~

NAMI PA Chester County
P.O. Box 1102, Frazer, Pa 19355 Our Number 610-430-0177
NAMI PA 1-800-223-0500
1-800-950-NAMI
( national hotline )
Our e-mail address is:
Gjones1@nami.org

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